2.3 - Words and Their Types

 Words used in the Arabic language are of two kinds: Single
مُفْرَدٌ muf-ra-dun and Compound مُرَكَّبٌ mu-rak-ka-bun.


A. Single-word مُفْرَدٌ muf-ra-dun is the word that points to a singular meaning. Another term for a single word is ka-li-ma-tun كَلِمَةٌ. Words are of three types:


1)     Noun اِسْمٌ Is-mun

The basic definition of a Noun is the same as English in Arabic.


2)     Verb فِعْلٌ Fei’lun

The definition of a Verb is also the same as in English. An important thing to remember is that Verb always has a time associated with it. Another difference is that Arabic uses two tenses. One for the past, is called مَاضِيْ maa-di. All others, such as the present, present continuous, and future tenses, are called Imperfect Tenses مُضَارِعٌ mu-daa-ri-‘un.


3)     Particle حَرْفٌ Harf-un

The Arabic language does not have words for joining, such as “of,” “as,” “in,” etc. Instead, it uses Particles that can change their meaning depending on the usage. The context of the sentence is considered to draw its meaning. These will be described in detail later in the book.


State حَالَةٌ haa-la-tun of a Noun


To understand the States of a Noun, First, we have to learn the term إِعْرَابٌ eraa-bun, translated as flexibility. E’raab means “to Arabicise.” The equivalent for e’raabs in English would be the vowels that change the sound in a different direction. Short vowels  or harakahs (dammah, fathah, and kasrah) are used in Arabic. Very critical to note in Arabic is that harakahs are not e’raabs. In general, a Dammah is used for Nominative, Fathah for Accusative, and a Kasrah for Genitive. Harakahs are used in a Noun to show their State without changing their meaning.


A Noun can be only one of the three states described below. We will discuss why, when these States occur in later sections.


1. The Nominative   رَفْعٌ Raf’un as in “rough.”

2.The Accusative نَصْبٌ Nas-bun

3. The Genitive جَرٌّ jar-run, jar as in “ger” in german.”


For example, حَامِدٌ Hami-dun is the Nominative State, حَامِدًا Hami-dan is the Accusative State, and حَامِدٍ Hami-din is the Genitive State. So these are three different States of the Noun حَامِدٌ Hami-dun, which is a name, and its meaning has not changed, but States have. The States indicate the position of the Noun in a sentence as to whether it is an  Object مَفْعُوْلٌ maf-‘oo-lun or a Subject/actor فَاعِلٌ faa-'i-lun.


A Noun is considered to be always in the State of nominative رَفْعٌ Raf’un.  Some reason causes it to go into accusative نَصْبٌ Nas-bun or genitive جَرٌّ Jar-run. Nominative رَفْعٌ Raf’un is the natural State of a Noun. However, it is essential to remember that harakahs do not necessarily imply a Form. In General, you will find a dammah for nominative, a fathah for Accusative Nas-bun, and kasrah for genitive. But this is not always the case.


B. Compound مُرَكَّبٌ Mu-rak-ka-bun: This is made with two or more words. There are two types: complete مُفِيْدٌ mufee-dun and incomplete غَيْرُ مُفِيْدٍ ghai-ru mufee-dun.


A complete Compound مُفِيْدٌ, which is also called a sentence اَلْجُمْلَةُ al-jum-latu or speech اَلْكَلَامُ al-kalaa-mu meaningfully expresses a Statement, question, or other information.


An incomplete Compound غَيْرُمُفِيْدٍ ghairu mufee-dun is a fragment that does not entirely convey a Statement, question, or other information. These compounds are divided into several types with different names by Grammarians. We will be covering four commonly used compounds:


1. Descriptive Compound مُرَكَّبُ التَّوْصِيْفِيْ murak-kabut Tausifi

2. Demonstrative Compound مُرَكَّبُ الْاِشَارِىْ murak-ka-bul Ishari

3. Possessive Compound مُرَكَّبُ الْإِضَافِيْ murak-ka-bul idafi

4. Genitive Compound مُرَكَّبُ الْجَارِّيْ murak-ka-bul jaarri, and Particles of Jarr حُرُوْفُ الْجرِّ huroof-ul Jarri


Compound words will be described in more detail later in chapter 4.